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Just as Knut Hamsun's novel, Hunger, considers what it means to starve for one's work, Danish director Henning Carlsen's film adaptation of Hunger portrays the story’s protagonist as an inscrutable man whose eccentric dedication to literature costs him his health. Hunger, the first Scandinavian co-production to represent Denmark, Sweden, and Norway in its making, takes place in 1890's Christiania (Oslo), where Pontus (Per Oscarsson) perseveres homelessness and starvation to write articles for a local magazine editor. Filmed in grainy black and white, Hunger is as thoughtfully subtle as an Ingmar Bergman film. Pontus's washed-out hallucinations recall The Seventh Seal, while his preoccupation with the lovely Ylajali (Gunnel Lindblom), whose name he invents because of the way the name rolls off his tongue, recalls the romanticism of Wild Strawberries. Scenes showing Pontus considering how to steal bones from dogs, or pleading with his boots to stay on his feet, capture his self-inflicted tragedy, while other scenes depicting citizens refusing to help Pontus earn money elicit sympathy for his plight. Watching this film alongside Hamsun, a wonderful biography of the author, shows similarities between the author and his most famous character, Pontus, not due to Knut Hamsun’s poverty or sketchy mental facility, but rather his undying commitment to skepticism and literature. Hunger, however, quiets those personality traits, making Pontus as sensitive as he is uncompromising. --Trinie Dalton
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This epic love story set in 14th-century Norway is Liv Ullmann's (Faithless) remarkable adaptation of Sigrid Undset's 1928 Nobel Prize-winning novel. Kristin Lavransdatter follows one woman's decision to break with tradition to marry the man she loves rather than the man her father has chosen for her. Torn between her longing for love and her sense of family loyalty, she ventures into a life filled with passion and pain, joy and sorrow. The star of many Ingmar Bergman films (Scenes from a Marriage, Autumn Sonata), director Ullmann collaborates here with cinematographer Sven Nykvist (Cries and Whispers) to create a film as visually entrancing as Bergman's finest. Her insightful exploration of medieval society captures the essence of life throughout the ages.
|The Other Side of Sunday
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The Other Side Of Sunday
The actual translation of this Oscar-nominated Norwegian film's original title, Sonntagsengel, is "Sunday Angels," which comes close to reflecting the state of innocence and grace from which the young heroine, Maria, attempts to penetrate adult mysteries in defiance of her father, a priest. The story is set in 1959, and Maria is unhappily lagging behind the rock & roll rebellion of her peers. Her father is severe and arbitrary in his judgments of what's best for her, her mother is in and out of a hospital, and her Sundays are spent in church, allegedly hanging on the old man's every word despite her ever-clarifying atheism. One way out: Find an ally as well as a cautionary figure in a lovely but miserable church servant who wishes she were as free as her true spirit. Directed by Berit Nesheim, the film is most vital during Maria's moments of unspoken yearning and accelerated confidence, giving us a palpable sense of a girl's inner life metamorphosing into womanhood. The rest--family scenes concocted to underscore Dad's own emotional conflicts and tyranny--are much more wooden. --Tom Keogh
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Henry Chinaski (Dillon) considers himself a writer, and on occasion writes. Mostly he quests for the booze and women that sidetrack and seduce, rather than inspire greatness. When he falls for Jan (Taylor), the soulful connection fails to save either from their self-destructive ways, and the relationship totters between earnest connection and reflective loathing. With exceptional performances that capture the intoxicated journey though life and art, Factotum is the story of a man living on the edge; a writer who risks everything, tries anything, and finds poetry in life
Matt Dillon lumbers through Factotum like a side of beef just starting to rot, lifting his chin in quiet, semi-comic reflections on the domestic squalor of a booze-ridden life. His slow, thick performance--as if he had something more viscous than blood running through his veins--has a weary gravitas that veers from wry resignation to bursts of violence that he regrets even as he's committing them. As Henry Chinaski (an alter ego of author Charles Bukowski), Dillon idly skips from job to job, seeking one that will allow him to continue his two pursuits: Writing and drinking. He gets enmeshed with one woman (Lili Taylor, I Shot Andy Warhol) and dallies with another (Marisa Tomei, In the Bedroom), but his only true love is the bottle. Despite this bleak storyline, Factotum proceeds with an almost lighthearted pace, each spare scene delivered with a dry, almost wistful tone of regret and flashes of gallows humor. Director Bent Hamer (Kitchen Stories) is from Norway and has a similar aesthetic to Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismaki (The Man Without a Past); sly slices-of-life that deliver bad news with a gentle, forgiving touch. --Bret Fetzer
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A Swedish researcher strikes up an unlikely friendship with a cranky Norwegian farmer in this "quirky, thoughtful and bittersweet" (Boxoffice) comedy that captured audiences hearts around theworld. Both "warm" (Newsday) and witty, Kitchen Stories is "a deadpan, thoroughly delightful comedy that cooks up tasty laughs" (New York Post)! It's the 1950s, and a Swedish efficiency expert under strict orders not to interact with his subject is sent to improve a Norwegian farmer's culinary efforts. But the sly old farmer much prefers to amuse himself by impeding the timid researcher's work! Soon, in the struggle between neutral observation and the need for human interaction, the kitchen becomes a battleground!
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Brand: TLA Releasing
Fueled by icy sexuality and raw violence, Next Door is a chilling and provocative thriller with a mind-bending twist. Newly single, John befriends the two women living in the cluttered labyrinth of an apartment next door. This neighborly spirit leads to a bizarre seduction, culminating with a blow to the jaw that dredges up deeply disturbing memories. Could it be the end of John's sanity, or is it just what he needs to see things clearly for the first time?
- Behind The Scenes
- Next Door: Rooms Of The Mind
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- Fueled by icy sexuality and raw violence, Next Door is a chilling and provocative thriller with a mind-bending twist. Newly single, John befriends the two women living in the cluttered labyrinth of an apartment next door. This neighborly spirit leads to a bizarre seduction, culminating with a blow to the jaw that dredges up deeply disturbing memories. Could it be the end of John s sanity, or is it
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Brand: Buena Vista Home Video
DESCRIPTION: From one of the producers of the Academy Award(R)-winning NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN(Best Picture, 2007), comes this critically acclaimed,
postmodern Norwegian coming-of-age story. REPRISE follows two aspiring novelists and lifelong friends journeying down different paths after one's first novel receives wild acclaim and the other a pile of rejection slips. Filled with infectious energy, filmed in French New Wave style and featuring a stellar up-and-coming young cast, REPRISE is an extraordinary film you'll want to experience again and again.
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|Cross My Heart and Hope to Die
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- Winner! Berlin International Film Festival Winner! Chicago International Film Festival In the tradition of My Life as a Dog, Cross My Heart tells the coming-of-age story of a young boy, Otto, who must stay home from camp during summer vacation after causing a disturbance at his local soccer game. A mysterious man enters the life of his family. What he learns about his life and his family duri
|Edvard Munch-Special Edition 2-DVD Set
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This is the first commercial US release of the extended 2-part version of Peter Watkins
"Famously described by Ingmar Bergman as a ""work of genius"", Peter Watkins' multi-faceted masterpiece is more than just a bio-pic of the iconic Norwegian Expressionist painter. Focusing initially on Munch's formative years in late 19th Century Kristiania (now Oslo), Watkins uses his trademark style to create a vivid picture of the emotional, political and social upheavals that would have such an effect on his art.
The young artist (Geir Westby) has an affair with ""Mrs Heiberg"" (Gro Fraas), a devastating experience that will haunt him for the rest of his life, and his work is viciously attacked by the critics and public alike. He is forced to leave his home country for Berlin, where, along with the notorious
Swedish playwright August Strindberg, he becomes part of the cultural storm that is to sweep Europe.
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